Symposium Books Logo

Politics, Modernisation and Educational Reform in Russia
Enlarge cover

Oxford Studies in Comparative Education

Politics, Modernisation and Educational Reform in Russia

from past to present


2010 paperback 176 pages, £30.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-41-0

However, it is still available immediately as an eBook: please click on the links below to Amazon Kindle and/or Google Books.

About the book

The chapters in this volume give an account of the process of modernisation and educational reform in Russia, variously considering the cultural and political dilemmas provoked by democratisation, the structural and policy challenges associated with the reform of higher and vocational education, and the deep divisions exposed as socio-cultural activity is brought into alignment with the new discourse of freedom and choice.
  The volume stimulates an important debate about the methods that inform cross-national and cross-regional work on educational change. This is particularly salient in a study of educational reform in Russia, and begs the question, ‘whose way of thinking, of constructing meaning, and of experiencing the world’ is used to judge the weight and the direction of change? Each chapter shows that a thorough understanding of the nature of change and the direction of reform is only achieved through the ability to decentre - or take on board - the ‘other’ worldview. It argues, therefore, that it is worldview, rather than culture or nation-state, that is the most valid unit of analysis.
  This book pays tribute to K.D. Ushinsky (1824-70), ‘the Russian pioneer of comparative education’, each chapter in it broadly in agreement with his conclusions that:
Public education does not solve the problems of life by itself; it does not lead history; rather, it follows the historical development. It is not the pedagogies or the teachers who create the future, but the people themselves and their great men. Education only follows this road and, in combination with other public (social) factors, helps the individual and the rising generation on its way.


David Johnson. Editorial

Robert Harris. Society and the Individual: state and private education in Russia during the 19th and 20th centuries

Margarita Pavlova. The Modernisation of Education in Russia: culture and markets

Judith Marquand. The Democratisation of Higher Education in Russia

Olga Fedotova & Oksana Chigisheva. Restructuring the Governance and Management Structures of Higher Education in Russia

Charles Walker. Classed and Gendered ‘Learning Careers’: transitions from vocational to higher education in Russia

Elena Minina. The Unified National Test for Student Admission to Higher Education in Russia: a pillar of modernisation?

Andrea Laczik. How Meaningful is the Policy of Free School Choice in the Modernisation of Education in Russia

James Muckle. Concepts of Education in Russia: from past to present


Oksana Chigisheva is the Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy of Higher Education of the Psychological Faculty and a research fellow of the scientific and educational centre ‘Lifelong Learning’ at Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, PhD holder in Pedagogy (Candidate of Science), member of the British Association for International and Comparative Education, external reviewer for European Science Foundation. Her sphere of scientific interests includes comparative and international education, pedagogical prognostics, pedagogically significant forms of international interaction and intercultural communication, lifelong learning, pedagogy for sustainable development. She is the author of 45 scientific, methodological, review works published in Russia and Europe. Dr Chigisheva has finished training courses in the USA (1999) and the UK (2007, 2008). She is a grant holder of the Russian Foundations for Humanities (conference participation, 2008), Fulbright Program (participation in XII Fulbright Summer School in the Humanities ‘Media Imagination’, 2009), Gotland University (participation in the workshop ‘Pedagogy for Sustainable Development – using the Pattern Laboratory Approach’, 2009).

Olga Fedotova is the Head of the Department of Psychology and Pedagogy of Higher Education of the Psychological Faculty and Director of the scientific and research centre ‘Lifelong Learning’ at Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, deputy director in scientific and research work at Lyceum 1 ‘Classical’ of Rostov-on-Don, Doctor of Science (Pedagogy), and member of BAICE. Her special spheres of scientific and research interest are: history, theory and methodology of foreign pedagogy; technologies of the educational process; comparative education and education for sustainable development. Professor Fedotova is the author of more than 200 scientific and methodological publications.

Robert Harris has taught at the New School for Social Research, Columbia University in New York, York University in Toronto, and in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford. He specialises in nineteenth century Russian intellectual history.

David Johnson
is Reader in Comparative Education, University of Oxford and Fellow of St Antony’s College. He recently gave a series of lectures on education in developing countries at the University of Rostov-on-Don. His interest in Russia is twofold: first, as a Psychologist, firmly rooted in the (Russian) school of cultural, historical and activity theory, and second, as a political activist with an historical interest in the influence of Russian thought on the educational systems of selected African countries.

Andrea Laczik is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Education and Industry, University of Warwick and Department of Education, University of Oxford. She finished her undergraduate studies in Hungary, and her MSc and ESRC-funded DPhil studies at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She has worked on several EU funded Tempus projects which focussed on teacher training and education management. The projects involved many European universities from Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Russia and Poland, and lasted over 15 years. Her doctoral research examined school choice in Hungary and Russia. Her current research interests include changes in education in the former Eastern bloc countries, school choice, parental involvement in education, 14-19 education reform, employer engagement in education, skills and competencies of economic migrants and research methodology.

James Muckle taught Russian in schools and universities, and was a teacher trainer. He made a study of Soviet and post-Soviet education, and he taught briefly in secondary schools in Moscow and Leningrad. He is the author of A Guide to the Soviet Curriculum (1988), Portrait of a Soviet School under Glasnost (1990) and The Russian Language in Britain (2008), and he jointly edited Post-School Education and the Transition from State Socialism (2001). He was awarded the Pushkin Medal in 1994 and currently holds the honorary post of Special Professor in Education the University of Nottingham.

Elena Minina is a 2nd year Doctoral Student at the Department of Educational Studies, University of Oxford. She holds a Master’s degree in International and Comparative Education from Oxford University and a Master’s degree in Anthropology from European University-St Petersburg, Russia. From 2001 to 2004 Elena taught Linguistics and Sociolinguistics at St Petersburg State University, Russia. In 2004-2005 she was a visiting scholar at the Department of Linguistics, University of California-Berkeley and a visiting lecturer at the University of Austin, Texas. Prior to enrolling at the University of Oxford, Elena worked as Senior International Education Consultant with American Councils for International Education, providing expert advice on educational systems, degree equivalences and academic exchange programs. Elena’s research interests include contemporary Russian education, educational reform, discourse analysis, textual politics and cognitive linguistics.

Margarita Pavlova started her academic career in Russia before moving to Griffith University, Australia in 2001. Both her PhDs are in the area of comparative education and she has more than 20 years of experience in that area. Dr Pavlova established the sustainability research program at the Griffith Institute for Educational Research. She also works as a consultant with international, state and national agencies, including the World Bank; UNESCO; Queensland Studies Authorities, and the Ministry of Education of Russia. This work has involved developing policies, approaches and resources for technology and vocational education, and ESD. She has had international experience working in a variety of countries in Europe (including Germany, Russia, Finland and the UK) as well as in the USA and Australia. Her current research project on Vocational education and sustainability in China relates to capacity building and involves 11 institutes.

Judith Marquand, after studying at Oxford and Harvard universities, taught at the University of Manchester and at LSE before entering the British Government Economic Service, where she remained for some 25 years. As was then usual for Government economists, she served in a wide range of Departments. The last of these was the Manpower Services Commission/Training Agency. She took early retirement at the beginning of the 1990s to head a research centre at the University of Sheffield, from where (and, later, from Mansfield College, Oxford) she headed a range of development projects with Russian universities and with Ecological Committees in Siberia. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Salford, UK and Tomsk State University, Russia. She is the author of Autonomy and Change (1988) and of Development Aid in Russia: lessons from Siberia (2009).

Charlie Walker is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Southampton. He completed his doctoral research at the Centre for East European Studies, University of Birmingham, and was CEELBAS Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His main research interests lie in the sociology of youth, work, and education, with a focus on transformations of class and gender in the context of emerging forms of labour market and educational integration in Eastern Europe.

Related and recent books

Education and Privatisation in Eastern Europe and the Baltic Republics PAUL BERESFORD-HILL

Education and Economic Change in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union DAVID PHILLIPS, MICHAEL KASER

Teachers, Democratisation and Educational Reform in Russia and South Africa MICHELE SCHWEISFURTH

European Educational Research (Re)Constructed MIKE ZAPP, MARCELO MARQUES, JUSTIN J.W. POWELL, with contributions by Gert Biesta & Jo B. Helgetun

Comparing Post-Socialist Transformations MAIA CHANKSELIANI, IVETA SILOVA

Book Reviews